Bringing back people’s money

Recently, it was reported that the Bangladesh government has received a cheque amounting the equivalent of nearly seven and half crore US Dollars from a Singaporean bank after successfully completing all processes for the recovery of this siphoned off ill gotten gains from Bangladesh by the second son, Arafat Rahman Coco, of former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia. This is considered to be a start only in getting back people’s money sent out by corrupt wheeler-dealers during their stay in power in Bangladesh.
Allegedly, similar and more results are awaited in case of Tareque Rahman , the elder son of the former PM and also in relation to Coco. The present government has been trying to bring back illegally sent money abroad by potentates of past governments. Forging of relations with foreign institutions and governments have been strengthened to this end and the efforts are paying off. However, this is not to say that yet greater efforts are not needed for this purpose. Indeed, some analysts maintain that the incumbent government should have moved harder and faster with this objective in view. They say even now there is time for them to leave behind significant accomplishments in this area as their tenure comes to an end by trying harder.
There is hardly disagreement among most quarters in Bangladesh about the merit side of the move to bring backhuge resources pumped out of Bangladesh by the truly corrupt and powerful ones under past governments. The Finance Minister on occasion, in response to queries from the media, commented that steps would be taken to bring back the siphoned off wealth. But the finance minister’s comments need to be matched by vigorous activism to raise hopes that justice would indeed be finally done to bring back these resources which should belong to the people and spent or utilized for their well being.
Foreign agencies helping the government in these matters say that resources not in millions of dollars but billionswould be recoverable if only successive governments in Bangladesh remain steady in pressing for the same. The recovered money could prove to be a booster for the country’s foreign currency reserve, help significantly the import operations and come as a powerful aid to support activities towards poverty alleviation and meeting requirements for spending on distressed people during emergencies.
When some 50 per cent or more people of the country remain in the ranks of the poor or very poor, when they fail to meet minimum calorie requirements for themselves even after every day’s hard toil, in this backdrop righteous indignation cannot but be created from such knowledge about a small number of plunderers who are using this country as a springboard to pump out such vast unearned wealth out of it to be able to enjoy the same in foreign countries. Indeed, the blood of any upright individual should come to a boil in anger from such information.
Thus, it is imperative that the present government should look at this issue with the seriousness it deserves. People in general are very aware of the looting of this land by interest groups at their expense. Thus, the incumbents in power can only be seen as doing what must be done in the interest of the people by making all out efforts to get back the vast wealth of the country siphoned off by a number of plunderers.
Major Gen (retd) Subid Ali Bhuyian, a parliament member of Awami League who is also a chairman of a parliamentary standing committee in these matters, earlier in a television talk show said, most of the findings of different agencies during the anti-graft drive of Fakhruddin’s caretaker government, are correct and objective.
In the remaining part of its tenure, the present government would be doing countrymen a great service by accelerating the moves to bring back the stolen resources of the people in bigger amounts and at short intervals. Apart from the obvious usefulness of the same for the public exchequer such developments will help to revive people’s memories (which can be short in many cases) so that they would ponder seriously before going to polls about voting again for these looters of people’s money.